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Parachute recovery has been a prerequisite for success in many space programs. Correspondingly, stringent space program requirements have accelerated the evolution of parachute technologies to allow such advances as highly reliable systems, ultra-dense packs, large Ringsail and ribbon parachute clusters, simultaneity in large-scale multiple-stage disreefing, textiles suited to extraterrestrial/hostile environments, man-rated retrorocket landing deceleration, modern mid-air retrieval methods, and aerobraking for re-entry trajectory control. A wide variety of applications illustrate the mutual impact Earth of parachutes on the space program and vice-versa. orbiting vehicle recovery systems include specific applications such as Discoverer, SAMOS, Cosmos, Salyat return, and Chinese satellite recovery. Manned spacecraft terrestrial landing systems include Vostok, Mercury, Gemini, Voskhod, Soyuz , and Apollo. Manned spacecraft auxiliary/emergency parachute systems include Mercury, Gemini, Soyuz, LLRV/LLTV, Apollo, STS Orbiter, Hermes and the Soviet Shuttle. Planetary spacecraft descent systems include Venera, Pioneer Venus, Mars, Viking, MRSR, Galileo and Cassini. Extraterrestrial return spacecraft landing systems include Zond, Luna, and MRSR. Launch vehicle recovery systems include STS-DSS, Energiya, ALS, ARS, and Shuttle-C. Spacecraft ground deceleration systems include the STS Orbiter brake chute. Space station emergency escape systems include Skylab, Mir and CERV. Descent capability is often as crucial to mission success as is ascent capability. Parachutes will continue to proceed manned interplanetary spaceflight by decelerating information-gathering probes. Recovery and reusability of expensive elements of space hardware facilitates space flight in an era of severe fiscal constraints.
Progress in space flight has been closely tied to advances in parachute technology. Parachute recovery has been a prerequisite for success in many space programs. Correspondingly, stringent space program requirements have accelerated the evolution of parachute technologies to allow such advances as highly reliable systems, ultra-dense packs, large Ringsail and ribbon parachute clusters, simultaneity in multiple stage large-scale disreefing, textiles suited to extraterrestrial/hostile environments, man-rated retrorocket landing deceleration, modern mid-air retrieval methods, and aerobraking for re-entry trajectory control. Nowhere more than within the framework of manned spacecraft recovery has the parachute community repeatedly demonstrated the ability tasks. to perform llimpossiblell Parachute system requirements and capabilities have had both a direct and an indirect impact on space programs because descent capability is as essential as that of ascent. Parachutes will continue to proceed manned interplanetary flight by decelerating information-gathering probes. Parachutes will continue to assume an increased role in the American space program to provide rapid return capability from an orbiting space station as well as return launch vehicles for reuse. Recovery and reusability of expensive elements of space hardware facilitates space flight in an era of severe fiscal constraints. Trends in parachutes for space applications can be put into perspective by careful historical review. The primary space-related applications for parachutes are:
1 2) 3)
earth orbiting vehicle recovery systems manned spacecraft terrestrial landing systems manned spacecraft auxiliary/emergency parachute systems planetary spacecraft descent systems extraterrestrial return spacecraft landing systems launch vehicle recovery systems spacecraft ground deceleration space station emergency escape systems
These applications illustrate the mutual interplay between parachute systems and the space program.
EARTH ORBITING VEHICLE RECOVERY SYSTEMS
On April 14, 1959, General Electric's Discoverer I1 satellite re-entry capsule became the first object to return safely from orbit. The Discoverer return capsule (variously described as weighing 85, 180 and 300 lbs.1f2f3) incorporated an Irvin parachute recovery system. Plans called for Pacific Ocean recovery, but an off-nominal orbital insertion in conjunction with an automatic deorbit timer forced it to land near Spitzbergen, north of Norway. Norweigien recovery parties observed the parachute descent, but the capsule was never retrieved by the U.S. Capsules on Discoverers I11 through XI1 encountered various operational capsule ejection and re-entry difficulties. It wasn't until Discoverer XIII, recovered from the Pacific Ocean on August 11, 1960, that a satellite was recovered intact. Discoverer XIV was mid-air retrieved by a C-119 aircraft on August 19, 1960, and the Air Force recovery crew was able to photograph the recovery. Seven of the 3 8 earliest Discoverers were recovered via mid-air retrieval, three from the ocean. An entire series of reconnaissance (SAMOS et. al.) and scientific (Biosat) payloads were subsequently being recovered by similar Irvin parachute systems.
SAMOS 2, orbited on 31 January 1961, was the first of a long series of 1530 lb. class E5 film capsule return satellites.4A Lockheed's SAMOS (Satellite and Missile Observation System) continued to be launched routinely for I1a better look" through the 1970's until displaced by its all-radio transmission cousins.5
Soviet reconnaissance film capsule recovery began on 9 April 1962 with the return of Cosmos IV. The USSR was launching (and presumably recovering capsules from) at least twice the number of reconnaissance satellites as the U.S. by 1965. 6 f 7
SALYAT RETURN CAPSULES
Salyat's 3 and 5 space stations ejected large return modules of an undetermined nature following the departure of their crews.8
CHINESE SATELLITE RECOVERY
China has successfully demonstrated the ability to recover satellite packages.
MANNED SPACECRAFT TERRESTRIAL LANDING SYSTEMS VOSTOK
Yuri Gagarin became the first man to ride back from orbit on 12 April 1961 in his spherical Vostok spacecraft. Sergei Korolev, director of the early Soviet spacecraft efforts, originally specified water landings as the primary Vostok recovery mode. A combination of political and geographic constraints forced Korolev to select land landing as the primary landing mode. The resulting increases in capsule weight made an ejection seat for routine independent cosmonaut recovery an attractive option. Cosmonauts ejected for tolerable landings under personnel parachutes until the amphibious retrorocket equipped Voshkod capsule was developed. Soviet reticence in disclosing details of Gagarinrs landing resulted from FA1 (Federation Aeronautique Internationale) regulations, which require a pilot to take-off and land in his craft to qualify for an aeronautical world record. The FA1 certified the record despite ambiguities, but thirteen years later a Soviet description of Gagarin's separate descent was published.lo Korolev was well aware of the minimum parachute size which would prevent landing injuries in cases of non-ejection. The Russians had conducted canine g-force and impact tolerance tests to gauge the effects of impact velocities to allow capsule parachute sizing. NASA performed similar Itpig dropff tests.11 The early cosmonauts received extensive parachute training, in contrast to the American astronauts who, even today, are forbidden to make intentional parachute descents. It was no coincidence that Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, was the president of her local parachute club. Ironically, Tereshkovals successful flight and its political aftereffects prevented her from ever making another parachute jump l2 Gherman Titov, the second cosmonaut, was exposed to a horrible sequence of training jumps. He made intentional landings into trees, into rivers, onto steep hillsides; in
rain, snow, high winds, and onto concrete. He was taken up in 2-seat jet fighters and ejected in high-G vertical banks. Other cosmonaut-candidates weren't as lucky as Titov. Pyotr Dolgov, a test jumper, died during qualification tests of the Vostok ejection seat,13 which had the not-unexpected result of placing severe size restrictions on the Vostok cosmonauts. l4 Yevgeny Andreyev froze to death on 1 November, 1962 as a result of a stratospheric balloon jump similar to those made in the United States by Joe Kittinger and Nick Piantanida. Ivan Korniev, along with an unknown number of anonymous cosmonaut-trainees who may have died during parachute training.15 Sputnik 4, an earlier version of the Vostok capsule, was orbited on May 15, 1960 with a dummy cosmonaut and didn't survive re-entry. Sputnik 6 also did not survive re-entry. Sputnik 5, a Vostok mock-up, re-entered and parachuted to Earth successfully on August 20, 1960. Sputniks 9 and 10, canine practice runs for the first Russian manned mission, were also recovered. Coincidentally, the first Russian spacecraft recovery (Sputnik 5) was accomplished on August 20, 1960, within 24 hours of the first American mid-air space capsule recovery.
The United States returned six manned and four "chimped" Mercury capsules from space between 1961 through 1963 using a 63-foot diameter Ringsail main chute and an identical reserve parachute. - The 2900-lb Mercury spacecraft decelerated to subsonic velocity by 30,000 ft. A six foot Do conical ribbon drogue was mortar-deployed to stabilize the spacecraft. At 10,000 feet the main Ringsail parachute was deployed and landed the spacecraft at a descent rate of 28 ft/sec. Radioplane (later Northrop-Ventura) encountered unforseen high altitude deployment phenomena, theoretical gaps in the areas of scaling and supersonic flutter, and a deployment failure during testing of the proposed extended skirt parachute system, prompting a thorough review of the program.
I M N
This led to replacement of the original parachute system by the new but highly reliable Ringsail.16 The Ringsail parachute is a slotted circular parachute with alternating rings of llsailsl' and slots. It was invented and refined by Ed Ewing, who also designed a 24-foot personnel version he called the Skysail, and tested it successfully on his first and only jump. The ingenious Ringsail proved to be the key for recovering American manned space vehicles. Of twenty Mercury flights (unmanned, "monkeyedI1 and manned,) and two emergency aborts, the main parachute system worked each and every time. The 63-foot reserve parachute was never needed.
Gemini (originally Mercury MK 11), became the next American manned space program. Northrop's Gemini recovery system used predominately Mercury-derived hardware to recover the 4400 pound capsule, but on Gemini, every critical function was duplicated. The only exception was the single 84.2 foot Do Ringsail main parachute: there was no escape tower or reserve parachute as on Mercury. Main parachute failure would require astronaut ejection. The Gemini parachute system consisted of a mortar-deployed 8.3 foot Do 20° conical ribbon drogue. An 18.2 foot DO Ringsail was later added to remove the section which housed the main parachute. Gemini was intended from the start to have a land-landing system. NASA Langley pushed the paraglider, an inflatable controlled flexible wing, as the means of achieving land landing. Operational and reliability concerns were expressed by other NASA offices, which insisted that use of the paraglider mandated the use of ejection seats and vice-versa. Both systems could be unreliable, technically risky, and risked tight Gemini schedules. The failure of the Gemini paraglider program has been welldocumented in detail elsewhere.l 7 ? l 8 The death blow was probably rendered as early as 28 November 1961 when North American was selected as prime contractor for the Apollo spacecraft, which had a catastrophic impact on paraglider staffing. Paraglider was successively postponed from the
second mission to the final missions and then cancelled altogether. The 360 kg of weight savings caused by replacement by a conventional parachute system was quickly raided by mission planners for additional experiments. Coincidentally, North American achieved its first full-scale success on 30 April 1964, the day after paraglider phaseout began. A series of increasingly trouble-free paraglider flights were made through the end of the year. Ironically, toward the end of the paraglider effort Northrop achieved significant success with the development of a 4000 square foot non-rigid parawing with a partially-inflated leading edge. Pioneer and NASA Houston achieved parallel success in an effort to replace the paraglider with a 70 ft Do LeMoigne Parasail and retrorockets.22,23 success in concept validation programs was also achieved with other configurations such as the Sailwing, a high aspect ratio single surface gliding parachute developed by Barish ~ s s o c i a t e s ~and the Manta-Ray, a gliding Ringsail type ~; parachute developed by the Irvin Paraspace centera5. Efforts to produce parachutes which perform like wings have apparently proven to be both more fruitful and cost efficient than effforts to produce rigid wings which can be deployed like parachutes. "Plan B", a conventional Ringsail parachute system, was substituted following the cancellation of paraglider. On twelve flights, ten of them manned, Gemini's primary parachute system operated 100% successfully.
VOSKHOD AND' SOYUZ
The Voskhod 2 or 3-man Soviet space capsule was the first manned space vehicle to incorporate retrorockets for landing, eliminating the ejection seats which had been required on Vostok. Voskhod was actually quite similar to Vostok, though it had been stripped-down to hold three men. There was no A pad abort, escape tower, or emergency escape system. deorbital retrorocket was required on Voskhod because insufficient supplies were packed to allow deorbit through atmospheric decay.26 The capsule was also the first designed Voskhodls to be able to land on either land or water.
parachute system was fabricated from lower permeability hightenacity nylon for a higher drag coefficient resulting in much needed weight savings. As a result, higher opening forces necessitated structural reinforcement of the parachute attachment locations.2 7 Soyuz was the first truly operational Soviet manned spacecraft -- having the ability to alter its trajectory appreciably during re-entry, an ability which all U.S. manned spacecraft have had. The earlier Vostok and Voshkod were merely spherical; stabilization was obtained by ballasting. Soyuz, developed in 1967, had a large main parachute, a reserve parachute and landing retrorockets. Vladimir Komarov, pilot of the first Voskhod, was killed as his Soyuz I spacecraft returned to earth on April 24, 1967. The official Soviet explanation of the accident was an entanglement of the main parachute risers during parachute deployment. This may have occurred because of on-board guidance system failure, forcing Komarov to initiate a controlled spin for guidance through re-entry.2 8 Resultant increased g-loads leading to loss of consciousness would have prevented manual initiation of despin procedures. Reports indicated that Komorovrs last radio transmissions described efforts to untangle his parachute. 2 9 Precision re-entry and trajectory control is critical on Soyuz missions due to the inadvisability of landing in China, immediately South of the usual landing zone. In addition, off-nominal land landing may result in touchdown amidst rough terrain. Soyuz-18 landed basely on the correct side of the Sino-Soviet'border following an off-nominal re-entry. They were stopped from rolling off of a precipice by entanglement of their parachute with scrub pines.30 The Soyuz vehicle was designed with the capability of being modified to orbit the moon and return. Komarov, the first cosmonaut to fly twice in space, was the most likely candidate for the planned one-man Soviet circumlunar mission. The Soviet space program rebuilt after his death as did Apollo after the tragic Apollo 204 fire, and the early Soyuz evolved into a more advanced spacecraft.
A modernized version of the original vehicle, the Soyuz-TI was first used in December, 1979. Soyuz-T (transport) appears to have been designed specifically for increased payload capability. The Soviets introduced the Soyuz-TM (transport-modified) in This 6600-lb return vehicle had optimized the mid 1980's. main and reserve parachute systems which used lightweight nylon fabrics and Kevlar-type materials for suspension lines Soyuz-TM parachute and other structural components. 3 1 systems were designed to remain in orbit for long periods to greatly reduce the cost of "keeping a taxi waitingf1during extended duration Mir space station missions.
The Apollo Command Module parachute recovery system was the most heavily engineered and thoroughly tested parachute system ever built. Northrop-Ventura was faced with design obstacles which dwarfed development efforts on the recovery systems of both Mercury and Gemini. The recovery system for the 5.5 ton Command Module was packed into a small space around the docking tunnel, tucked in under the spacecraftls apex cover. The complete recovery system included nine parachutes, three mortars, and countless other components and had a 500 lb. weight constraint. Apollo's parachute system had to work --- no ifs, ands or buts. It had to weigh almost nothing --- packed into a small, odd-shaped space --- and survive any environments that the space program could dish out. It wasn't permitted to grow as the-Apollo capsule weight continued to increase from 8200 lbs. to 11,000 lbs., and then after the Apollo I fire, to 13,000 lbs. Three brilliant engineers, Wesley Steyer, William Freeman, and Theo Knacke, are given much of the credit for guiding the nimpossible" Apollo parachute system on to unparalleled success. A total of 9 parachutes were used on each Apollo mission. The forward heat shield was ejected at 25,000 feet. The heat shield is lowered by parachute to prevent recontact with the comrnond module. The two reefed 16.5 ft. Do drogue parachutes
were mortar deployed. At 10,000 feet both drouges disconnected and three 7.2 ft. Do ringslot pilot chutes were mortar-ejected, the pilot chutes extracting the three 83.5 ft. Do Ringsail parachutes. Two parachutes are the primary system, the third constituting the back-up system. The Apollo parachute program cost millions, and it was worth every penny. On Apollo, as on Mercury and Gemini, each of the 21 unmanned and 15 manned Apollo capsule parachute systems worked perfectly or almost perfectly. During one mission, Apollo 15, one of the three main parachutes collapsed shortly after deployment. It was later discovered that residual thruster fuel, which up this point had been dumped routinely, had eaten through the risers.
On July 24, 1976, the last Apollo capsule returned from the Apollo-Soyuz hookup mission. It felt like 1963, when llGordoll Cooper brought the last "man in a can" home, or 1966, when Love11 and Aldrin brought back the last Gemini. Severe problems with capsule stability during re-entry resulted in contamination of the air supply. Vance Brand fired the drogues and Tom Stafford initiated the main parachutes on the only Apollo mission where the parachutes were deployed If Deke Slayton hadn't ordered manual parachute manually. deployment, the crew might not have survived. Northop-Venturats Apollo Parachute System design will likely prove to be a valuable starting point in the design of the next generation of space transportation vehicles.
MANNED SPACECRAFT AUXILIARY/EMERGENCY PARACHUTE SYSTEMS MERCURY EMERGENCY ESCAPE
The Mercury launch vehicle carried an escape tower to allow low level and pad aborts. In addition, Mercury astronauts carried a chest-mounted reserve parachute for bailout. After Alan Shephard discovered that the pack impeded his hand flight controls, the 24-foot chutes were only brought along upon special request by the astronaut. Nevertheless, it appears that all of the Mercury astronauts opted to wear the belly-mounted reserve.
GEMINI EMERGENCY ESCAPE
Gemini abort modes utilized a pair of manually-initiated ejection seats as opposed to the automatically-triggered escape tower on Mercury. The Gemini ejection seats were designed to meet requirements far outside the capabilities of existing qualified ejection seats, as well as having an ultra-high reliability. The simultaneously ejected, rocketpropelled seats were even designed to have sufficient impetus to outrun an expanding fireball in the event of a Titan launch vehicle explosion. Gemini ejection verification testing included SOPE (simulated off-pad ejection,) a novel test procedure at that time. Ejection seat development encountered almost as many problems as paraglider. During a sled test on 5 November 1964, part of the seat collapsed during ejection, completely demolishing On another test before various the seat and test dummy.32 VIP's and Gemini astronauts, an outer capsule hatch failed to open prior to rocket catapult firing. A seat popped through its closed hatch, cleanly punching a seat-shaped hole in the capsule and neatly decapitating one of the test dummies. One nearby astronaut glanced at the result---and just walked away. John Young, commiserating with the test dummies, mentioned "a hell of a headache, but a hell of a short onew. The Gemini escape seat systems completed qualification testing just a few weeks before the first flight. It is not surprising that on 12 December 1965 when the launch vehicle on the Gemini VI-A mission shut down within seconds of
liftoff, Commander Schirra elected not to eject. The Gemini missions never required operational use of the ejection seats. The Gemini ejection seats and their passengers required a high degree of stability during the operational sequence. Goodyear developed two ballute configurations to stabilize the Gemini ejection seat at up to Mach TBD. The astronaut's conventional parachute would be opened at an altitude of 1900 feet. The first live jump of the ejection parachute system was made by USAF CWO Charles Laine on 22 November 1963 as the nation's attention was focused on tragic events in Dallas. A two point suspension and 48 inch ballute were selected over a one-point suspension and 36 inch ballute to preclude adverse rotation at high altitude.3 3
SOYUZ EMERGENCY ESCAPE
The Titan I1 booster selected for Gemini utilized hypergolic fuel as opposed to the more volatile cryogenic fuels used on the Soyuz Semyorka (as well as the Atlas previously considered for Gemini). The smaller fireball resulting from a Titan explosion would barely permit the use of a personnel ejection system rather than a capsule abort system. Soyuz incorporated a pad abort escape tower similar in Soyuz abort mode configuration to. that used on Mercury. deploys the smaller backup parachute canopy to ensure deployment during the low dynamic pressure/low altitude trajectory. This escape system was put to good use on 26 September 1983, when the Soyuz T-1OA Semyorka booster exploded. The cosmonauts involved were later described as Ithealthybut very unhappy. 1134
Parachutes played a crucial role during lunar landing mission training. Two free-flying lunar landing research vehicles were constructed by Bell Aerosystems to prepare the astronauts for the final 500 feet of descent to the lunar surface. These vehicles used a fanjet engine to counteract five-sixths of the earth's gravity, while the astronaut maneuvered with peroxide rockets and thrusters. The LLRV's were later rebuilt and joined by three improved lunar landing
training vehicles (LLTVrs). The LLRV and LLTV were difficult to fly and had a predisposition to control divergence. Neil Armstrong ejected from the reworked original LLRV at 100 feet over Ellington Two other AFB follwoing a decay in attitude control.3 5 t 3 6 ejections followed in quick succession and NASA officials wanted to scrap the vehicles. The astronauts protested, additional improvements were incorporated into the vehicle, and in March 1969, flights were resumed with the redesigned and stabilized LLTV. Armstrong and Aldrin continued to rehearse their lunar eight times on landing trajectory on the "flying bedsteadvv, the last day. Astronauts on the early lunar landing missions reported that it had prepared them well for the actual flight. Obstacle avoidance during the first lunar landing gives this credance.
APOLLO EMERGENCY ESCAPE
Apollofs launch escape system lifted the entire command module off of the pad, much like the Mercury escape tower. Apollofs design actually owed more to Mercury than to Gemini, many components actually having been designed before Gemini by Mercury program designers. Apollo, like Gemini and Mercury, had pad abort capability. The space shuttle had that important capability removed from it when Columbiars ejection seats were removed. Apollo originally incorporated personnel bail-out parachutes for the crewmembers, which were eliminated due to both impracticality and severe weight and volume constraints. Tragically, elimination of the personnel chutes triggered replacement of the proposed explosive exit hatch with a manually-operated hatch. The explosive hatch was reincorporated following the Apollo 204 fire.
S T S ORBITER SHUTTLE BAILOUT
Water landing is not considered a viable emergency landing mode for the shuttle orbiter in spite of the fact that two-
thirds of the earth's surface is covered by water. To address this problem, NASA has selected a system which allows the astronauts to escape the orbiter in steady gliding flight without hitting the large aft delta wing. It uses a telescoping stainless steel pole, onto which each of the crew would hook a Kevlar ring, slide down and away from the wing, opening their parachutes in freefall. The escape system has been tested by the Navy at China Lake Naval Weapons Center and is being retrofitted into the shuttle orbiters. Many within the NASA community feel that individual or group ejection seats would significantly increase the odds of survival in the event of a mission emergency. However, they also recognize budgetary and shuttle architectural limitations which all but prohibit such seats. No ejection seats are planned.
A crew escape module is planned for the European Hermes minishuttle.
SOVIET SHUTTLE ESCAPE SYSTEM
It has not yet been determined whether the announced Soviet mini-shuttle will have pad abort or other escape capability.
PLANETARY SPACECRAFT DESCENT SYSTEMS VENERA
Man's first spacecraft to reach another planet was Venera 3, the first of a series of Soviet probes which utilized parachutes for terminal descent, descended on 1 March 1 9 6 6 . Data on atmospheric pressure, density and composition collected by Venera 4 on 1 8 October 1 9 6 7 initiated redesign efforts including an increase parachute durability which resulted in deeper atmospheric penetration. Descent capsule weights have ranged from 9 0 0 to 1 1 8 0 lbs. Venera 7, which reentered on 1 5 December 1 9 7 0 , deployed its Kevlar parachute at 2 0 0 , 0 0 0 ft (and 7 0 % of terrestrial sea level pressure). A nylon reefing system allowed rapid descent until reefing line decay in the sulfuric acid atmosphere reduced terminal descent velocity. This method proved successful and continued to be used on succeeding probes. 37
The Pioneer-Venus probe parachute system was designed to decelerate a 6 7 0 lb probe through the Cytherean atmosphere. At Mach 0.8, ( 6 9 psf and 220,000 it.), a mortar-ejected 2.5 ft. Do pilot chute extracted the 16.2 ft. Do conical ribbon main descent parachute. Unlike prior (Soviet) probes, the Irvin Industries parachute system was released at 1 5 5 , 0 0 0 ft. to maintain minimum descent rates.38
Arean (Martian) atmospheric deceleration presents technical challenges quite unlike that encountered during Cytherean landings due to gross differences in atmospheric pressures and adiabatic lapse rates. The Soviet Mars 2 and Mars 3 spacecraft each consisted of a sphere resting in a torus on top of a blunt heatshield. A two-stage parachute system was used; the parachute jettisonned at a 1 0 0 ft altitude to reduce final landing weight before retrofire. Mars 2 crash landed on 27 November
1971, and five days later Mars 3 softlanded and transmitted images for 20 seconds before being overturned by a severe duststorm.39 Mars 6, the next probe to make it down to the surface crashlanded on 12 March 1974.4 0
Two Viking instrument packages soft-landed on the surface of Mars in July and August of 1976. The Viking program, (an outgrowth of the cancelled Voyager program) was responsible for advances in high Mach, low q parachute deployment, an area both NASA and Avco considered to be formidable technical impediments to the proposed mission. 4 1 Martin-Marietta suggested replacement of the previously favored ballute/parachute stabilization / deceleration system by a conventional parachute system in 1969. The Goodyear Aerospace non-reefed 53 ft Do disk-gapband parachute was mortar-ejected at 21,000 ft and 1200 fps via radar altimetry data. Chute separation occurred at approximately 4000 ft and 200 fps.4 2 High Martian surface winds favored high altitude parachute release to permit positive terminal trajectory control. Viking's mission constraints included minimum weight and volume, unpredictable loads and drag performance in an illdefined dynamic pressure environment, and a non-negligible forebody wake, retention in the dense packed state for 36 months in a space environment, and exposure to anticontamination sterilization.4 3 NASA established three test programs to qualify a decelerator for the Viking missions. The Planetary Entry Parachute Program (PEPP) gauged the relative performance of disk-gapband, Ringsail, cruciform, and ballute decelerators at high altitudes. The other test series qualified the 53 ft diskgap-band parachute system for the mission.
MARS ROVER SAMPLE RETURN
A disk-gap-band parachute on the order of 50-70 feet has been selected over gliding and other parachute concepts for the descent phase of the Mars Rover Sample Return mission (MRSR), which will attempt to return Martian soil samples to Earth.4 4
NASA has scheduled the Galileo Jovian probe launch on one of the next available Shuttle flights in 1989. Galileo will drop an atmospheric probe to be slowed by a speciallydesigned parachute system. The Galileo unmanned spacecraft, which was scheduled for launch two years previous, will utilize a parachute system which has been packed for TBD years and will be exposed to space environments for over six years.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is planning the Cassini mission, which will involve a parachute descent through the atmosphere of Titan, the largest of Saturn's moons. Titan is the moon most likely to contain life within this solar system.
EXTRATERRESTRIAL RETURN SPACECRAFT LANDING SYSTEMS LUNA
Lunar sample return was an early Soviet space science priority; the first Luna was only the fourth Soviet space launch. Luna-15, a desperate unsuccessful lunar soil return mission, was launched just prior to the Apollo 11 moon landing. Luna 15 crashed on the Mare Crisium (Sea of Crises) two hours after the Eagle LM lifted off from Tranquility Sea. Lunar soil samples were finally returned by Luna 16 on 24 September 1970. Two succeeding Luna missions deployed Lunokhod sample collection rovers, but the second successful soil recovery wasn't made until 25 February 1972. Proponents of unmanned sample return probes might note that the total weight of returned samples was only a thousandth of the weight of the Apollo samples. Each unmanned lunar mission cost approximately one-quarter of a manned mission and was able to accomplish far less. A single Apollo expedition collected hundreds of soil and rock samples over a wide area, emplaced long-lived scientific instruments, surveyed the lunar surface from orbit and launched The flexibility of the exploratory subsatellites. 4 5 f 4 6 human element has been critical in ensuring the success of a number of space programs, both American and Soviet.
The first man-made object to make a circumlunar flight and return safely to earth was Zond-5, recovered in the Indian Two months later, Zond-6 Ocean on 21 September 1968. successfully demonstrated an atmospheric I1skip glide" reentry into the standard Asian landing zone. Though an escape system appears to have been tested in conjunction with the modified Soyuz vehicle, the anticipated manned missions never materialized. Two additional Zonds were recovered during the next two years, Zond-7 by land and Zond-8 by sea.4 7 , 4 8
MARS ROVER SAMPLE RETURN
Certain mission scenarios for t h e proposed MRSR include provision for direct re-entry and parachute recovery of Terrestrial contamination has been geological samples. 4 9 noted as a potential concern.
LAUNCH VEHICLE RECOVERY SPACE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
Pioneer Parachute Company's STS-DSS is used to recover the two solid rocket boosters (SRB's) on each space shuttle launch.5 0 A booster nose cap is ejected at 16,000 ft., extracting the 11 ft. Do ribbon pilot chute. The 54 ft. Do reefed drogue, opens completely after twelve seconds. The drogue is released at 6600 ft. to deploy the three, 136 ft. Do conical ribbon mains. The original 124 foot parachutes didn't satisfy upgraded booster descent rate requirements and so were enlarged to 136 feet and a large apex cap was added. The SRB parachutes are retrieved from the ocean, untangled, washed, dried, inspected, repaired and repacked. It has been reported that unanticipated sand abrasion limits practical parachute system refurbishment to 10-12 times apiece.51 The SRB-DSS system stands as a significant milestone in parachute technology development.
The Soviets have launched a huge booster called Energiya in 1987. Photographs published in international aerospace magazines clearly show compartments for parachute recovery of each of the booster sections. It is unknown, however, when those parachute systems will actually be functional. Although the Soviets have been reluctant to use clustered parachute systems on their space recovery systems, Energiya may be recovered by two single chutes on either end of each booster section. Evidence suggests that these recovery parachutes may be 393 it. Do ribbon chutes.
ALS, the Advanced Launch System, is presently under development as a less expensive cargo launch system to supplement or replace the space shuttle.
The Air Force has indicated that many jobs cannot be accomplished by the Space Shuttle. SDI may eventually require as many as 60 or 70 launches per year. STS will probably never have that capability in its present form.
A recovery system is one way of reducing the prohibitive costs associated.with throwing away an entire launch vehicle on each flight. Boeing, Martin Marietta/MDAC, and General Dynamics/Morton Thiokol have been awarded Phase I1 development contracts. Unfortunately, the Air Force has had scant experience with large reusable rockets.
ADVANCED RECOVERY SYSTEMS
NASA-Marshall is funding an Advanced Recovery System (ARS) program to identify and compare baseline systems for the recovery of portions of the next generation of launch vehicles. These include such recoverables as complete boosters, booster sections, P/AMfs, external tanks, cargo carriers, emergency Illifeboat~~~ regularly scheduled cargo and return pods. Pioneer Systems, Inc. has been generating some significant work during ARS Phases I and 11. One of the most interesting developments is the design of a 47-cell, 1000 lb., 11,000 square foot ram-air parachute to recover 60,000 lbs. Full-scale development testing is scheduled as early as 1991. Although much of NASA's interest in ram-air parachutes stems from basic work done over the years at Para-Flite, Inc., Pioneer is currently doing the only funded work on large ramair parachutes. Para-Flite is continuing to make advances in the develppment of large ram-air parachute technology such as including construction methods, performance optimization, deployment techniques and guided/homing landing systems.
Shuttle-C, NASA's proposed heavy cargo version of the space shuttle, will undoubtedly require a means of recovering its engine and avionics package for reuse. Because plans for Shuttle-C do not include a winged landing orbiter, systems designed for ARS will probably be applied to Shuttle-C applications.
SPACE STATION EMERGENCY ESCAPE SYSTEMS
The Skylab space station maintained one Apollo Command Module on-station as well as a ground back-up CM ready for launch.
The Soviet Mir space station maintains an on-station Soyuz return capsule as well as a ground back-up Soyuz ready for launch. The Progress resupply capsules are not intended to survive re-entry, but probably could serve as an in-orbit "lifeboatn if suitably modified.
The proposed Crew Emergency Return Vehicle (CERV) is to be used to bring space station crew members back to earth quickly in medical, environmental or other emergencies. Space shuttle turnaround time limits use as an emergency rescue vehicle, and Apollo technology is neither available or appropriate. CERV is recognized as an absolute necessity. Though construction in space is not without its hazards, CERV is not scheduled to go on-line until after the completion of the space station.
A recent Irvin internal study compared the relative performance of Apollo-type parachute systems vs. ram-air parachute systems. The gliding parachute system demonstrated significant weight reduction for CERV weights over 5 0 0 0 lbs.5 2
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